This would be the highest raise since the Carter administration.

This would be the highest raise since the Carter administration. the_burtons / Getty Images

Biden Officially Proposes an Average 5.2% Pay Increase for Federal Workers and the Military in 2024

The largest proposed pay raise for federal employees since the Carter administration still falls short of the demands of some Democrats and unions.

President Biden officially proposed a 5.2% average pay raise for both civilian federal employees and military service members next year as part of his fiscal 2024 budget plan released Thursday.

The figure marks an increase over the 4.6% pay hike feds received in 2023, and would be the highest proposed pay hike federal workers have seen since the Carter administration implemented a 9.1% average pay increase in 1980. The budget documents released Thursday do not specify what portion of the raise will be dedicated to across-the-board increases in basic pay, although traditionally presidents have set aside 0.5% of an overall pay raise figure for average boosts in locality pay.

The White House highlighted the pay raise as part of its effort to ensure the federal government is “equitable, effective and accountable” and better delivers services to the American people by helping agencies compete for talent.

“Federal agencies are focused on attracting more people to federal service over the long term, while also addressing immediate agency hiring needs to rebuild capacity,” administration officials wrote. “[The] budget provides an average pay increase of 5.2% for civilian and military personnel—and answers the president’s call for agencies to lead by example in supporting federal worker organizing and collective bargaining.”

Despite marking the largest proposed pay increase for federal workers in more than four decades, the proposal still falls short of the 8.7% average pay raise supported by some congressional Democrats and federal employee groups. Both proposals are likely to receive pushback from Republican lawmakers.

In a statement, American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley suggested that while 5.2% is a good starting point for the administration, federal workers need the more generous 8.7% raise to combat recent high inflation and to make up for years of inadequate pay raises that workers endured during the 2010s.

“AFGE applauds President Biden’s reported inclusion of a proposed 5.2% pay adjustment for federal employees in his proposed 2024 budget,” Kelley said. “Not only would this be the largest increase since 1980, it would also be a significant step in the right direction for efforts to recruit and retain the next generation of federal workers . . . While we applaud the president’s proposal, it is not enough. More must be done to make serious progress in closing the double-digit pay gap between federal employees and their private sector counterparts. Congress should pass the FAIR Act’s 8.7% adjustment.”